One of three deadline day deals pulled off by the Blue Jays front office to bolster their rotation, right handed starter Scott Feldman heads north of the border from Houston in exchange for right hander Lupe Chavez. The Jays would later add Mike Bolsinger and Francisco Liriano in separate deals, but we’ll focus on this one for now.
Nearly 100% of baseball people, even the most die hard prospect followers, likely had no idea who Lupe Chavez was before this deal was made. An 18 year old from Sinaloa, Mexico, Chavez is in his second professional season with Toronto after signing for an undisclosed amount in 2014. He made quick work of the Dominican Summer League last year in his debut, making ten starts totaling 42.1 innings with 45 strike outs to 14 walks while allowing 40 hits and 14 earned runs. This was good for a 2.98 ERA and 2.76 FIP. Nobody went deep off Chavez that season and he was rewarded with an August promotion to the states and Toronto’s Gulf Coast League affiliate. He finished the season with four more appearances (three starts) and 19 more innings, punching out 14 with six free passes, 16 base knocks, and five earned runs for a 2.37 ERA and 2.94 FIP. All told, the lanky 6-foot-2, 150 pound righty tossed 61.1 innings of 2.79 ERA ball with 8.7 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9. He also uncorked 13 wild pitches.
This year he went back to the GCL and has been even more impressive through his first 32 innings (six starts). Over that span he’s pitched to a 1.69 ERA and 3.10 FIP with 26 K’s, 29 hits and just four walks allowed. He’s even cut the wild pitches down to only one so far. The cats over at JaysJournal.com ranked Chavez 18th in their pre-season Top 30 prospect list, noting from a Ben Badler piece when he signed that Chavez "already throws up to 93 mph while flashing an above-average changeup that’s ahead of his curveball, with good pitchability for his experience level."
All in all, Chavez has the makings of a good lottery ticket; showing the potential for three average pitches and the experience of being a starter. It’s not a bad return for a rental bullpen/swing arm like Scott Feldman. He’s only started one game since the end of April, having been relegated to the bullpen for the majority of the year.
For the year Feldman has totaled 62 innings with a 2.90 ERA and 4.23 FIP while ringing up 42 strike outs to just 13 walks and 64 base hits. If it weren’t for a favorable 77% strand rate, Feldman’s surface numbers would likely look much rougher. Two things he does have though, is plenty of experience filling out a rotation and one postseason run with Texas in 2011.